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Edie: An American Biography

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  4,401 Ratings  ·  245 Reviews

When Edie was first published, it quickly became an international best-seller and then took its place among the classic books about the 1960s. Edie Sedgwick exploded into the public eye like a comet. She seemed to have it all: she was aristocratic and glamorous, vivacious and young, Andy Warhol’s superstar. But within a few years she flared out as quickly as she had appear

Paperback, 382 pages
Published April 15th 1983 by Dell (first published 1982)
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Shattering. Edie's story is a tragedy. Wait until you meet her family. Her father should have been taken out at dawn, blindfolded and shot. Moreover, if you want insight into the 1960s New York art world and contemporary culture as a whole, this is your book. It's redolent of America in the '60s. Fascinating.

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Ian "Marvin" Graye
Place Holder

This is the type of book that, when I see a copy on the shelf of a second-hand book store, I buy it, so that I can give it to someone.

I don't even have to have someone in mind at the time. I can work that out later.

The point is that a book this good has to find a home on the shelf of someone who loves life, people and writing (well, interviewing) at its best.

This was my first experience of a biography assembled from direct quotes from hundreds of interviews, without any bridging tex
Sep 02, 2007 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who place trust in oral history
Poor, poor Edie. if you only know the sleep i lost because i couldn't quit reading your life story told by people who envied, despised, laid, loved and destroyed you. This book, discovered from a footnote of a footnote, says a lot about desire and protection. Her end story is a story that is now well known and rather ridiculous in the way it plays out, but her beginnings, like many tragic figures, is what kickstarts this oral history with an almost storybook like cast of characters, from her eas ...more
The first biography I'd ever read completely constructed of reported memories of the subject from people who'd been in his or her circle or encountered him or her in some way.

Edie Sedgwick was the Sixties' version of poor little rich girl, descended on both sides from men who founded the Colonies, families which remained prominent throughout American history. (A gander at will give you some idea.)

Her father was a Western artist of the heroic mold, a bla
Ryan Chapman
Mar 05, 2007 Ryan Chapman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pop art fans
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
Edited by Jean Stein and George Plimpton, this massive oral biography does well the formidable job of presenting a tragic life, the Warhol scene, and even the old families of New England. Edie Sedgwick died at age 28 after becoming famous as the first Factory girl, an Oscar Wilde/Paris Hilton fame of being oneself first, and then pursuing projects afterward. The interview subjects range from Truman Capote to Andy Warhol to Gregory Corso to various family members, and are presented without backgr ...more
Sep 30, 2012 Lylah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a laboriously researched and edited oral history. It introduced me to both oral histories (which I LOVE) and an era in American pop culture. I have a vivid memory of seeing this book in the bookstore (one of my favorite places as a kid) when it came out in 1982 and wanting to read it because I liked the cover. 15 years later it became a personal favorite.

The book jacket describes the Pop Art scene of the 60s as "All glitter and flash on the outside, it was hollow and desperate within—lik
Winter Sophia Rose
Fascinating, Compelling, Unforgettable & Haunting! An Incredible Read! I Loved It!
Anita Dalton
This book helped me hate Andy Warhol just a little less, because it is clear he was not responsible for the denigration and demise of Edie Sedgwick. Edie was going to end up dead of an overdose or a suicide attempt one way or the other, and while Andy was a parasite, the blame for his death cannot be laid at his doorstep.

Mostly this book was interesting in a voyeuristic manner. I felt a similar sense of looking into the lives of a certain sort of elite when reading about John Cheever's life. Thi
Sep 05, 2014 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had seen the movie Factory Girl years ago and LOVED IT though wow who is it his girl.. But never went through to see who she was... Then I seen on here a few biographies and said what the heck..
So I made an order and added this book to the list.. And sat waiting
When I opened the amazon box finally came I grabbed this first and seen it was quotes....
Ok I thought what did I buy....
But I held out and FINALY decided to read it!!!
Boy am I happy I did.

It starts out about the Sedgwick family backgr
Muffy Kroha
Nov 24, 2007 Muffy Kroha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of tragic iconic beauties
This book was a huge stylistic influence on me in college- I even made over my roomate to look like her ( I would have done so for myself, but I made a much better Funny Girl era Streisand) Such a good look she had!
Around that same time my friends and I stood in line for hours to meet Andy Warhol and get his autograph- I didn't think about it as a faux pas at the time, I was still a teenager after all, but I took this book and a few xeroxes of him and Edie that I had colored in crayon!!!! Horror
Mar 10, 2015 Alvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This well-researched and un-romanticized bio of a beautiful, fun, druggy, but ultimately inconsequential heiress, is a must read for students of Andy Warhol, who is easily one of the 20 greatest humans who ever lived.
Dec 26, 2014 Sketchbook rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Plimpton: Drunk. Closeted. Slob. Gov stoolie. Aren't we glad he died? Jean Stein: She wanted to be a WASP. ~~ A self-righteous tome (abt a nitwit) that makes schmucks feel godly.
Jun 29, 2013 Lysanxia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
J'ai lu cette biographie après avoir fugitivement plongé dans l'univers du New-York Warholien de la fin des années 60 par le biais de "Just Kids", le bouquin de Patti Smith. Une silhouette se dessinait en filigrane des lieux et univers cités, de la Factory à Max's en passant par le Chelsea Hotel ; celle, longiligne et platinée, déjantée, adorable, d'Edie. Une personnalité qui semblait fasciner autant que déchaîner les pires inimités. En tous les cas, elle semblait ne laisser personne indifférent ...more
Reading this book is like running a marathon in a way: sometimes you have to take a breather to slow down so you don't run yourself into the ground. This book is slow and dreamlike in parts, whilst fast-paced and relentless in others. Reading is an experience in itself - I found myself getting to the point where I felt like I was actually there in that era, in the Factory and all the other places mentioned in the book with them. And not just that, it's horribly sad.

Most people probably have some
Apr 07, 2012 Salem rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Six different people have recommended this book to me over the last year. Jean Stein's narrative format is borrowed heavily from Studs Terkel, but still effective here. Wikipedia says that she had an affair with Faulkner and then offered an interview with him to the Paris Review as long as they would give her an editor position, which they did. Wikipedia also said that Sinbad, the comedian, was dead for a while, so YMMV but you gotta love anyone that uses a really great moment of intimacy as a b ...more
Grace Lozada
Aug 10, 2015 Grace Lozada rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was 1 of the first biographies I ever read. I was a teenager, about 15 years old. I couldn't put it down. I loved Andy Warhol at the time, but after a few of my older sisters read Edie and could not stop being obsessed with her, her life, and her life with Andy - I had to read it. Beautiful tragedy is what comes to mind when I think about her and her life. Her life, story, even touches my soul today - decades later.
Greatly written. You can feel like you were there with Edie, experiencing a
Sharon Blackstone
This book was a decadent adventure. Incredible. Every minute of it provoked new emotions. I have to say, I think it broke me a little. The kind of broken you don't want to fix because it's okay to be many different pieces of a puzzle. Life is made up of pieces we try to fit into each other along the way, but there are always cracks that are just space, space within ourselves. Questions that go unanswered. It's okay to feel a little broken.
Jun 23, 2015 Hennesy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's really sad when your role model is a drug addict, but a delightful social enigmatic one. Even through her inner struggle everyone saw her sparkle, that is just plainly admirable. She was everything and nothing, I am quite envious of her. There is no doubt she was a fascinating person, there are people that are born to live and she was definitely one of those people.
Dec 12, 2015 Nola rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took a while to get into it but when I finally realised that it told her story through family and the people she associated with, it was a lot easier to read. Self destructive person however bought up in a authoritarian father, dysfunctional family, you can now understand while she took drugs. Well worth reading.
Jennifer Glick
Nov 06, 2007 Jennifer Glick added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: younger drag queens
Don't speed, fashion, poor little rich girl incest victims and modern art make such a wonderful gumbo? Ugh, I cursed myself for getting to NYC after Andy died. It all sounded like so much fun. Now what can we do?
Apr 20, 2017 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sad story of the life of Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol's most famous muse. It was a really incredible look at the counterculture of the 1960s --- I felt like I was there, although after reading this book I'm not sure I would have wanted to be.
WORN Fashion Journal
You’ve probably already heard some version of events of the life of this stylish socialite. In late 2006, a film about Edie Sedgwick was released. Entitled Factory Girl , it had Sienna Miller playing a wide-eyed Mary Sue of sorts, who could tame horses and make even the surliest of weak Bob Dylan impersonators fall in love with her. Her downfall and drug addiction was sparked by the treatment of the Big Bad Andy Warhol, leading to her eventual death.

The almost cartoonish biopic of the famed six
Aug 07, 2012 Ellena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book a lot. This is my third time reading it. I think it's my first time reading it all the way through. I used to skip the first few chapters (about Sedgwick family members) because I thought they were boring or something. Now I'm obsessed with them. I like drawing a complete portrait of these people and the time period. I have no personal connection to all-American Ivy League/prep school, so reading a snapshot of it is really interesting.

I've seen Cat Marnell, drug-loving writer fo
Elizabeth Olsen
She was beautiful, she had her own style, she also had some artistic talent that didn't get much use. When she was a "star" and the "girl of the year" her life, though glamorous, was sad, and I don't mean tragically beautiful, I mean falling asleep with your lit cigarette and waking up in an inferno, sad. Either there was a dearth of resources for her personal feelings or she really was kind of empty, superficial. Someone dying because of drugs is sad but someone existing on fashion and snobs fo ...more
Tracy O
Sep 09, 2008 Tracy O rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just pulled this off of the book shelf from the past because I needed a beach read over the long weekend. First half is like Jane Goodall watching mountain gorillas - except that instead of mountain gorillas it's a detailed look into a certain segment of the New England upper class (and, the sub-section of that group that is truly nuts), and the New York very social scene in the 60's especially around Andy Warhol (and, the sub-section of that group that was truly nuts). Second part of the book i ...more
Mar 29, 2008 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-it-liked-it
This biography of Edie Sedgwick is by all accounts interesting. Edie Sedgwick led a life that a very small percentage of the population can empathize with - she was the in-crowd of the 60s, hanging out with Andy Warhol and just being a tragically fabulous young girl. The beginning of the book brings you through the many limbs of the Sedgwick family tree - stopping to explain who everyone is and how they came to be where they are. After that, you meet Edie and are taken on the downward spiral tha ...more
Amy Formanski Duffy
They recently put out the movie "Factory Girl," which was based on this biography of Edie Sedgwick. That was another movie that doesn't quite live up to the book. The book is written in what I think George Plimpton called an "oral history" style. Basically Jean Stein interviewed a ton of people who knew Edie, and then Plimpton edited those interviews into a narrative. I've never read a biography quite like this, where it's all direct quotes from people woven into a narrative. It makes the events ...more
Gave it an extra star because it's kind of the seminal book of this kind, I first read this when it came out, re-read it because I had this idea about writing something; the real fascination here is the family and how one man (Edie's father) could essentially destroy an entire robust blue blood american family and he did it largely because of his own insecurities about his masculinity. Unfortunately, the book is only about this early on, once you get into the Warhol days and beyond, it's beyond ...more
May 20, 2014 Max rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book for years. I got it back in the late 80s. I didn't realize how important Edie Sedgwick was to Andy Warhol's Factory until The Cult came out with a tribute song to her called "Ciao Baby (Edie)". I lost my paperback copy, but I recently picked up a new hardback copy and read it again. She was from an Old Line family and is a cousin to Kyra Sedgwick. She was Warhol's queen, in my opinion. He used her like everyone else did. She died at only 28 years old, but it seems that she had ...more
John Cassidy
Aug 09, 2014 John Cassidy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A terrific, but very sad, book. Also an amazingly quick read -- remember how fast it took you to plow through PLEASE KILL ME? you might have a contender here. The stories are wild, some utterly insane. A fascinating look into the decadent (in the truest sense of the word) Factory scene in NYC in the 60's. A scene that was creative and unhinged; but at the same time toxic and designed to implode. Recommended read.
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If Edie Sedgwick was around today do you think she would be as popular? 14 60 Aug 12, 2016 04:38PM  
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Jean Stein (1934 – April 30, 2017) was an American author and editor.

Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
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“I'd like to turn on the whole world for just a moment... just for a moment. I'm greedy; I'd like to keep most of it for myself and a few others, a few of my friends... to keep that superlative high, just on the cusp of each day... so that I'd radiate sunshine.” 6 likes
“Andy Warhol would like to have been Edie Sedgwick. He would like to have been a charming, well-born débutante from Boston. He would like to have been anybody except Andy Warhol.” 3 likes
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